I am interested in developing methods for assessing brain function in infants at risk of compromised neurodevelopment. This work is motivated by my longstanding interest and internationally recognised expertise in the use of a neuroimaging technique, functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS).
Following my cross-disciplinary Ph.D. in developmental neuroscience and medical physics, I became an MRC Research Fellow & the NIRS Research Coordinator at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development at Birkbeck, University of London. Recently, I have moved from primarily studying how infants’ social cognitive abilities develop over the first year of life to applying this work to the study of the infant brain at risk. In 2013, I published the first demonstration of atypical brain activation in infants under 6 months who are at increased risk for autism; highlighting fNIRS as a powerful neuroimaging tool.
This work led to a co-application with Professor Clare Elwell to apply fNIRS to the study of the effects of compromised brain development during under nutrition in infancy. This pioneering project, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has seen us transport fNIRS to a rural remote setting in Keneba, The Gambia to conduct longitudinal and cross sectional studies of infant development over the first two years of life.